Sunday, 15 February 2015
“Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadami Party’s Success in Delhi Elections and Leadership Lessons for Indian Democracy” – Professor M.S.Rao
“The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadami Party’s (AAP) stupendous success shows the might of Indian democracy to the world. It was like a David (Kejriwal) taking on the mighty Goliath (Modi). This spectacular verdict is totally unexpected by many people even by political pundits as nobody could gauge the mood of the people exactly. The exit polls showed the win of AAP but even they could not predict landslide win for Kejriwal. It is obvious that voters cannot be taken for granted. Delhi voters have rejected both caste and religion politics which is a sign of strength for democracy in India. This poll outcome shows that it is not the elite will get elected but also common man will get elected and occupy the office. It also shows that it is not only the tea seller but also bureaucrats with a clean image can occupy the chair if they pursue their causes sincerely and seriously. Here are some of the reasons for success of AAP and leadership lessons for other political parties.
Kejriwal was a simple and humble man. He set an example by walking his talk. He apologized Delhi voters as he resigned as Chief Minister due to lack of clear mandate when he became Chief Minister in the previous elections. It persuaded voters to give a clear mandate. When Kiran Bedi who was his colleague crusaded against corruption along with Anna Hazare became his political opponent, he did not badmouth like other politicians. He commented that Kiran Bedi was a nice person who will be made scapegoat by BJP later which proved to be correct. It showed Kejriwal’s great character to praise his opponent. It was unfortunate that he was not invited during Barack Obama’s visit for Republic Day Parade 2015.
Kejriwal didn’t give up when the media mood was against him. He persisted with a lot of patience to keep his cadre together and his vision intact. Some of the senior leaders who were opportunists resigned AAP before the elections and indulged in mud-slinging. He maintained cool and calm posture without badmouthing. A lot of money was thrown into the elections to defeat Kejriwal but ultimately people voted Kejriwal which indicates that people don’t bow down to money and muscle power. Since Kejriwal was simple, humble and practical man, the Delhi voters pinned a lot of faith in his leadership. It is a great burden for Kejriwal to live up to their expectations. Throughout his political career he kept his passion and vision intact despite being under threat. He reached to common man and was highly accessible. It all paid off at the end.
Kejriwal must focus on Delhi politics first to establish gradually across India. If he continues in this way, he can become third alternative in Indian politics as presently there is political vacuum for third alternative in India. It is a great opportunity for Kejriwal to have vision to spread his wings in future nationally.
BJP must check its arrogance to stay relevant. It must stop talking about religious conversions and must stand by secularism to keep India united as a great nation. Congress must reinvent immediately to avoid getting into oblivion. It must overcome elitist outlook and must listen to the pulse of the people rather than banking on caste and minority vote bank politics. The world is changing rapidly and India is also changing rapidly. Therefore, both BJP and Congress must evolve accordingly because the leadership tools and techniques that were successful for them in the past may not be successful in future. In the long run, two or three party system is ideal for national politics in India and to keep democracy vibrant.
To summarize, the Delhi elections demonstrated that Indian democracy is very strong. It is the voter and common man who will decide the fate of the political leaders. There is no room for money and muscle power, and caste and religion politics. It appears that Indian democracy and India is going in the right direction. We all Indians must strive hard to keep democracy intact where people of all religions, regions, languages, faiths, castes, and communities live together with fraternity and brotherhood. Jai Hind!
“The test of a democracy is not the magnificence of buildings or the speed of automobiles or the efficiency of air transportation, but rather the care given to the welfare of all the people.” - Helen Adams Keller, lecturer and author
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Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
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